“I don't know too many Republicans who are really worried about the legal case at this point," Jason Smith, a Houston lawyer, political consultant and blogger, told TIME. "The political casethat's a problem." Interest in the case is so high that Smith's blog crashed following news of the ruling when The Drudge Report linked to it.
DeLay defense attorney Dick DeGuerin is expected to present more pre-trial challenges before the year is out, including pressing for a hearing on charges of prosecutorial misconduct. But Texas District Attorney Ronnie Earle now has 15 days to appeal the judge's ruling and Priest has said there will be no court action until Dec. 20 and likely no trial before January.
Hours after the judge’s ruling, DeLay hosted Vice President Dick Cheney at a Houston hotel for a $500-a-plate fundraiser. But while the congressman still has the backing of the Bush Administration, his support is slipping at homea new Gallup poll finds that just 36 percent of registered voters in DeLay’s district said they would support him in November's electionand he faces an uphill climb with his party. "He's tough, ready for a fight," DeGuerin told TIME. "Some clients I have to build some starch in, but I didn't have to with him." The question for DeLay is whether he can persuade his congressional colleagues to come along.